Cap 5-10 cm broad, convex, margin incurved, expanding to nearly plane or depressed at the disc with an uplifted, wavy to irregular margin; surface smooth to appressed squamulose, dry, whitish to cream, bruising yellowish-brown to tawny-brown; flesh thick, whitish, firm, becoming ochraceous to tawny where exposed. Odor and taste mild.
Gills consisting of blunt, anastomosing ridges, well forked near the margin, strongly decurrent, whitish to cream, staining like the pileus when injured.
Stipe 2-5 cm long, 2-3 cm thick, fleshy, usually centrally attached, tapering toward the base; surface dry, smooth to somewhat roughened, concolorous with the cap, bruising dull yellow-brown to tawny-brown, especially near the base.
Spores 7.5-9.0 x 5-6 µm, elliptical, smooth, nonamyloid; spores white in deposit.
Scattered to gregarious in duff under mixed hardwood/conifer woods; found with but not limited to pines (Pinus sp.), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and madrone (Arbutus menziesii); fruiting from late fall to mid-winter.
Edible and choice.
Cantharellus subalbidus closely resembles its more common cousin, C. cibarius, but can be distinguished by a paler, white to cream-colored cap, lack of a fruity/apricot odor and spores that are slightly smaller and paler, i.e. white vs. cream yellow. Two other mushrooms that could be mistaken for Cantharellus subalbidus include Tricholoma magnivelare and Leucopaxillus albissimus. Tricholoma magnivelare, a choice edible in its own right, also tends to bruise yellow to tawny-brown, but the gills are not decurrent, and it has a well developed veil and a strong spicy odor; Leucopaxillus albissimus is a large, white mushroom often associated with redwood or eucalyptus. It has subdecurrent "true" gills, not easily confused with the blunt gill-like ridges of the white chanterelle. Additionally, Leucopaxillus albissimus differs in fruiting from a bed of dense, white mycelium.